Friday, February 02, 2007

I want Wiki! (Part 2)

The more time I spend on wikis, the more I wish wiki-like functionality was available elsewhere. 
For example, I've been reading through the Q and A section on the Ishmael site.  People have sent Quinn a lot of questions, and the questions with answeres are posted on his site.  I read a question, try to formulate an answer in my head, and then see what Quinn has to say.  I'm not just checking if I have the "right answer", but instead trying to understand what the differences in our answers mean.
In some cases, I feel like I could provide a richer answer than what is there - an answer that would be helpful to readers.  In those cases, I wish for Wiki.
Q: My chosen profession has begun to look like "part of the problem" rather than "part of the solution." I'm beginning to feel obliged to abandon it, as a matter of conscience. Do you see it this way?
A: You're wondering if we wouldn't be better off if your chosen profession didn't exist at all. A young film maker once expressed the same reservation to me (unknown to the general public, film-making is a tremendously pollutive business). I told him what I'll tell you: WHERE WOULD WE BE IF EVERYONE WITH A CONSCIENCE GOT OUT OF HIS CHOSEN PROFESSION?

We MUST HAVE film makers like him---and people like you in your profession! We must NOT cede key professions to people who care about nothing but profits.

This happens in plenty of other contexts, not just filmmakers who have been infected with Quinn's ideas.  For example, a few years ago when the debate about gay marriage was reaching a crescendo in the news media, I remember a lot of folks who were feeling frustrated talk about moving to Canada.  Similar to the case that Quinn describes, fleeing the USA because of politics you disagree with will just allow the politics to move further from what you're wanting.
But if I had wiki-like functionality on this page, what I would add is this:
 Don't assume that DQ is telling you to keep doing exactly the same job you're doing today.  You can change how you do your job, to address these concerns.  You can also change jobs in the same profession.
To consider the filmmaker example, you could direct your efforts to support making films that help your audience ask questions about Mother Culture.  You could help reduce the waste produced by the film projects you work on.  You could quit your job (but not your profession) and start a new film studio, organized as a tribal business (as suggested in Beyond Civilization).  You could do all three!
On the other hand, if you picked your current profession because it would bring you money and power, even though you hate the work, then switching professions may make good sense.  Trade money and power or something much better.


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